Mary-Ann Somers is vice president, general manager at The Hershey Company, managing the U.S. Confection business which includes such iconic brands as Hershey’s, Reese’s, KitKat, Kisses, Twizzler, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers, PayDay and Brookside. Mary-Ann joined the company in March ’15 as part of the leadership team driving a culture of bold moves, smart risk taking and creative problem solving while leveraging the legacy values, great brands and past successes. She is leading the effort to evolve the marketing and commercial model in the U.S., develop talent, and nurture the great culture of the Hershey Company.
Prior to joining Hershey’s, Somers was senior vice president, general manager at the Coca-Cola Company where she managed the Water, Tea and Coffee categories, including Dasani, Gold Peak Tea, Fuze Refreshments, and Honest Tea & Kids. Under her leadership, Dasani grew to the #1 national mainstream water brand. She significantly increased Coke’s tea business, growing Gold Peak over 50% to reach $1B in sales and launching Fuze Refreshments to reach global sales of $1B. She partnered with the founder of Honest Beverages to scale and expand this emerging beverage brand. Coke’s water, tea and coffee businesses continue to drive high growth under the next generation leadership that she helped to attract, retain and develop. She joined Coke as vice president in the Venturing and Emerging Brand Group where she led white space identification and partnered with founding entrepreneurs to develop and accelerate new brands (Honest Tea, Zico Coconut Water, Core Power, Fair Life Dairy and illy issimo). Before joining Coke in 2009, Mary-Ann held various domestic and global leadership positions at Colgate-Palmolive, Unilever, Merck and General Mills, as well as being a founding member of an internet health and wellness start-up.
She has spent most her adult life in New York City, was an expat in Istanbul Turkey, lived in Atlanta and now resides in central Pennsylvania. She holds a BA from Connecticut College and an MBA from the Tuck School, Dartmouth College. She has served as Alumni Member to the Phillips Academy Board of Directors and currently is a Board Member of Popcorn Indiana, a leader in the growing natural ready-to-eat popcorn category.
Neil Crowley is an adjunt professor at the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph's University, where he teaches courses in marketing, food marketing and management.
Crowley, a 35-year veteran of food and drug store retailing, began his career in 1961 as a stock/ clerk management trainee for F.W. Woolworth Co. He joined Acme Markets in the mid-1960s, where he held many marketing and merchandising positions in both the food, drug and general merchandise area, culminating with his appointment as executive vice president of marketing.
He served as president and CEO of Skaggs Alpha Beta, Richardson, Texas from 1987-91 when he joined the Vons Companies in Southern California as executive vice president of marketing and specialty retailing.
In 1994, Crowley join Pathmark Stores, Inc. as executive vice president of marketing and president of Blair Distributors, Pathmark's manufacturing and supply chain arm. In 1997 he retired.
He earned his B.S. in Business Administration from Saint Joesph's University and an MBA from Temple University.
Ernest Baskin is an expert in consumer behavior and marketing research. His research focuses on consumer judgment and decision making with a particular interest in environmental effects on judgment and choice. Within this domain, he strives to work on ideas that have both practical and theoretical implications. His work has been published in journals such as Journal of Consumer Research and Journal of Marketing Research and has been extensively covered in the popular press in outlets such as the Chicago Tribune, Lifehacker, and The Atlantic.
He has worked extensively with a variety of firms on major marketing and behavioral initiatives, including Google, Pepsico, Activision, TIAA-CREF.
Prior to joining Saint Joseph's, Ernest worked as a marketing consultant at ZS Associates in Philadelphia, PA and advised on marketing efforts, market research and mergers for a number of major pharmaceutical companies.
George Latella recently celebrated his 23rd anniversary of teaching at Saint Joseph's University (SJU). He has taught undergraduate, graduate, and executive MBA over that time.
He brings 20+ years of Sales/Marketing executive experience into the classroom. Key positions included: Director of Key Accounts, Director of National Sales/New Business Development, Director of Customer Relations/E-Commerce, & Director of Marketing.
Recent articles include "Execution and Decision Point Shopper Engagement" and “Talking Shop” for Grocery Headquarters. In addition, he has written articles on Brand Strategy, Food Marketing Strategy & Segmentation for Heady Times.
He also consults for Beacon Marketing Group which provides strategic solutions for companies through Planning, Marketing Communications, Direct Marketing, E-Commerce, and Quantitative Research.